The Goldwater Institute will launch a new project to reform the Indian Child Welfare Act and similar state laws that give abused and neglected Native American children fewer rights and protections than other American children. A major part of the project will be a federal class action lawsuit.
“When an abused child is removed from his or her home and placed in foster care or made available for adoption, judges are required to make a decision about where the child will live based on the child’s best interest. Except for Native American children. Courts are bound by federal law to disregard a Native American child’s best interest and place the child in a home with other Native Americans, even if it is not in his or her best interest,” said Darcy Olsen, president of the Goldwater Institute. “We want federal and state laws to be changed to give abused and neglected Native American children the same protections that are given to all other American children: the right to be placed in a safe home based on their best interests, not based on their race.”
On July 7, the Goldwater Institute will file a federal class action lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of core provisions of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act. The same day, the Institute will release an investigative report that documents how federal law leaves Native American children with fewer protections under the law than all other American children, and the serious consequences that have resulted from this unequal treatment. Recommendations for changes to state and federal law will also be announced.
Media is invited to a press briefing that will formally announce the details of the lawsuit, release the investigation, and policy recommendations, and screen an 8-minute original documentary film. The briefing will featureDr. William B. Allen, the former chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
What: Press conference announcing the Equal Protection for Indian Children Project and federal class action lawsuit
When: Tuesday, July 7, 2015, 9:00 a.m. Pacific time
Where: Goldwater Institute, 500 East Coronado Road, Phoenix
Who: Press event will feature Darcy Olsen, president of the Goldwater Institute, Clint Bolick, the Institute’s vice president of litigation, Mark Flatten, the author of the Institute’s investigative report to be released, Dr. William Allen